Readers made the most of available ingredients
The Washington Post’Mato Sammidges
Makes 8 half-sandwich servings
These are rich sandwiches made without bread: A combination of soft herbed cheese and bacon goes between thick slices of tomato, then the short stacks are breaded and sauteed on the stove top.
Warm sandwiches can be cut into quarters and served as hors d’oeuvres.
For filling variations, a mix of cream cheese and blue cheese could be used (without the bacon), which would make a nice sandwich to accompany grilled steak. Replace the bacon with a thin slice of roast beef and use brie for a lunchtime sandwich, or make it meatless with homemade pesto and shavings of Parmesan cheese.
From Mary Jo Sweeney of Crownsville, Md., winner of the Post Food section’s 2008 Top Tomato Recipe Contest.
3 to 4 large ripe tomatoes, cut horizontally into 8 slices that are 1/2 inch thick
2 5.2-ounce packages garlic- and herb-flavored soft cheese, such as Boursin, at room temperature
8 slices thick-sliced bacon, cooked until crisp, then drained
2 to 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 to 1 1/2 C. Italian seasoned fine dried bread crumbs
Place the tomato slices between paper towels for 15 minutes to drain any excess juices.
Make at least 4 matching pairs of similar-size slices. Spread a thick layer of cheese (1/4 inch) on one side of each tomato slice. Crumble the bacon and divide evenly over four of the slices. Mate the halves together to make sandwiches.
Lay a few layers of paper towels on a platter placed near the stove top. Heat the oil (as needed) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers.
Meanwhile, season the flour liberally with salt and pepper and place in a shallow bowl; place the beaten eggs and bread crumbs nearby in separate shallow bowls. Coat both sides of each sandwich, first in the seasoned flour, then in the egg and then in the bread crumbs, shaking off any excess bread crumbs while making sure the sandwiches are well covered.Cook the sandwiches for 2 to 3 minutes, until a golden brown crust forms, then carefully turn them over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on the second side. (If working in batches, add oil as needed.) Transfer to the paper towel-lined platter to drain slightly; serve warm.
Nutrition: Per half-sandwich serving: 253 calories, 7 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 22 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 77 mg cholesterol, 467 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber
Andrea’s All-Purpose, All-Natural, Thick ‘n’ Tasty Tomato Sauce
Makes about 2 quarts
A bounty of overripe, bargain-priced tomatoes at her local grocery store prompted Reston, Va., resident Andrea Okwesa to come up with this recipe. The sauce is chunky and luscious, with lots of sauteed onion. From Andrea Okwesa, who placed second in the Post Food section’s 2008 Top Tomato Recipe contest.
1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large red onions, cut in half, then cut into 1/4-inch slices
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
5 pounds very ripe, but not soft, unbruised tomatoes (vine-ripened and plum varieties or a combination), washed, cored and cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch chunks, with juices
Leaves from 10 stems basil, stacked, rolled tightly and cut crosswise into thin strips (chiffonade)
Leaves from 8 sprigs oregano, finely chopped
Leaves from 8 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
Leaves from 8 sprigs marjoram, finely chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until the oil shimmers.
Add the onion and garlic, stirring to combine; cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and start to caramelize.
Add the tomatoes and mix well to incorporate, then add the herbs. Stir to combine, and cook for a few minutes until the mixture starts to bubble. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 1 hour 45 minutes, until a thick sauce has formed. When the sauce is almost done, season with salt and pepper.Transfer to containers, preferably glass, to cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week; or place in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutrition: Per 1-cup serving: 146 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 248 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber
Summer Garden Poached Eggs
Makes 4 servings
Lightly and simply sauteed summer vegetables make a nice platform for the runny yolk of a well-poached egg. Serve this dish for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner. From Waldorf, Md., resident Diane Leveglia, who placed third in the Post Food section’s 2008 Top Tomato Recipe Contest.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, quartered and sliced (2 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
8 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
10 to 12 basil leaves, stacked, rolled tightly and cut crosswise into thin strips (chiffonade)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat the oil in a large nonstick saute pan (or skillet with high sides) over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onions and cook for about 7 minutes, until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the zucchini and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the desired degree of doneness.
Break or crack each egg into a separate saucer or small cup. Working with 1 egg at a time, tip them carefully into the hot tomato-zucchini mixture by lowering the lip of each egg cup 1/2 inch below the surface of the mixture. Use a spoon to gently corral the egg whites closer to their yolks, if necessary. Immediately cover the pan and turn off the heat (do not move the pan). Let sit, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. The yolks should be quite delicate and not at all firm.
Divide among individual plates; season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.Nutrition: Per serving: 217 calories, 10 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 212 mg cholesterol, 96 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber